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Durham University

Computing and Information Services

Frequently Asked Questions

List of FAQ categories

DU Box - General

+Can I share journal articles and other publications through DU Box?

DU Box folders and files can be shared with colleagues easily, however users must be aware of individual licence or copyright limitations on any material that is shared.

+Do I have to use DU Box?

Box is a mature, widely used, and beneficial product that has been purchased by the University to offer collaboration features, enhanced functionality, security, and file storageto research staff. It is therefore likely that staff will want to use DU Box due to the benefits it brings.

In addition, it should be noted that there is an obligation to store data generated, processed, or analysed during a research project in a secure way that protects the data from inappropriate access. Box meets market leading IT security standards and therefore researchers should consider their obligations to research participants and funders. Consequently, it is recommended that DU Box is considered for research data, but this position is not mandated due to individual circumstances (such as for file sizes exceeding the DU Box upload limit or regular uploading and downloading of larger files which could be cumbersome) and that researcher requirements are complex and multiple solutions are often required. Consideration should also be given to any requirements within individual contracts that expose constraints on where data is held. Box zones has been enabled so that the data stays within the EU which should meet the majority of user requirements, however occasionally some limitations are imposed that indicate that cloud storage should not be used and in such circumstances, clearly DU Box would not be appropriate.

+How do Linux users work with Box?

Rclone is a command line program to sync files and directories to and from your DU Box account, as well as other cloud storage providers. You can download the zip file from This link, alternatively you can follow these instructions to install it from the command line of your Linux workstation (You will require sudo privileges). Full instructions on how to configure rclone for use with Box can be found here.

Rclone provides a syntax similar to normal posix style commands prefixed with the command “rclone”.

E.g. “# rclone mkdir newdir box:” Creates a new directory called newdir at the root of a remote cloud service you have configured to be called “box”. To get a full set of capabilities type “rclone” without any parameters on your Linux computer after installation to see a full list of commands.

+How should I structure files and folders?

Due to the sharing features offered by DU Box it is important to use a clear naming convention. For example if ‘Project A’ and ‘Project B’ both had folders and within them they both had folders named ‘Literature Review’, then if these were shared with other colleagues it would be difficult to know which project the two folders related to. You should be consistent and descriptive in your naming convention and files could include information such as:

  • Project or experiment title/acronym
  • Researcher name or initials
  • Location/spatial coordinates
  • Type of data
  • Version number of file

For further information, see our FAQ “How is the sharing of files or folders structured?"

+I get an authentication error when I try to sign in to Box, what should I do?

If the user credentials you are trying are correct (try signing into with the format to confirm this is the case), it is posible that you already have a Box account, if this is the case you will need to amend the email address linked to the account.

Amending your personal Box account details:

  1. Sign in to - from that page you can reset your password if you don't know it
  2. Click the circular logo in the top right of the Box window and select Account Settings
  3. Scroll down to the Login and Email Addresses and add a new (not Durham) email address - you will need to verify the address, so look out for an email to it
  4. Once the email address has been verified, refresh the Account Settings page and then select the recently added email address as the Primary
  5. Log out of Box and sign in with your newly added email address to check the changes have been applied
  6. Try signing in to using your Durham username in the format

Your web browser may also be caching your previous sign-in credentials. You can start a new browser session via the following methods:

Chrome - with the browser open right-click on the Chrome icon at the botton of your screen and select New Incognito Window

Internet Explorer / Edge 
- with the browser open press Ctrl | Alt | P 

When you have a new browser window open, browse to and sign in with your Durham username in the format


+What happens if I change my email address (i.e. change of name as married)?

Contact the IT Service Desk and when your new email address is created they will move your DU Box data at the same time. You can then access DU Box using the new email credentials.

+What happens to my files if I leave Durham University?

Your access to the files and folders will be removed but will not be immediately deleted. Rather ownership of your account can be handed over to other colleagues who will then decide what to do. For example, in the case of an ongoing research project, this might include giving you access and privileges to folders to support your ongoing involvement.

+What is a Box note?

This feature enables users to make notes and share these with colleagues. It also supports simultaneous working so multiple authors can be working on an individual document at the same time.

+What is Box Edit?

Box Edit is a valuable tool that supports the opening, editing and saving of files directly in DU Box (i.e. no need to download files to your device and then upload them when finished). Rather you can work fully in DU Box. You will need to download this from the App Hub web page or directly from Box 

+What is Box Sync?

This feature enables users to download files to a device so they can be accessed offline and it automatically synchronises when internet connectivity is restored. However, box sync is intended for offline content only - not for daily work loads and should not be used for large volumes of data. The speed of Box Sync cannot be changed by users. It can be downloaded from the App Hub web page and will work on your laptop subject to meeting certain security settings - see our FAQ 'Can I access files stored on DU Box on mobile or non-University managed devices?'

Box Sync has been developed for mobile, offline working and will not work on University desktop devices.

You will need to download this from the App Hub web page or directly from Box

Additional information on Box Sync can be found at

+Who can have access to DU Box?

DU Box is aimed at research staff. Eligible staff must be classified as one of the following HESA codes:

211 - Research only
231X - Teaching and Research
231N – Neither Teaching nor Research.

HESA codes are allocated by Human Resources and all eligible staff assigned these codes are pre-approved to use DU Box, therefore simply log on and try the service.

Postgraduate students do not qualify in their own right (although they can have access to a supervisor's folder with appropriate sharing rights). If you are unsure whether you fall within these definitions, or if you are not eligible but feel there is a clear business justification as to why access should be provided, then contact the IT Service Desk.